Running the Distance: Weekly Agility Report

Agility this week consisted of ‘just’ two courses, but they were both longer than any others we’ve done before! And if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, it was one of the warmest days we’ve had so far this year. The arena floor had been watered down earlier in the day and it was warmer and more humid inside the arena than outside, just a few steps away.

Molly set up a long course using numbered cones at the beginning of class. We hadn’t used these cones before, but they indicate the order of obstacles as well as the side you’ll be approaching each of them from. We had 13 obstacles in all, forming a long snake formation through about 2/3 of the arena.

The first course began with a line of jumps, and Molly challenged me to set Rain up at the start and cue her from the end of the third jump. It didn’t work at first—Rain ran around the second jump. Then Molly suggested I look at and point to Rain’s line as I walked to the third jump, which improved things considerably.

Through the tunnel, around a jump backwards (towards me), then along the dog walk. At the end of the dog walk she started off by swinging far too wide and ended up saying a quick hello to everyone else on the platform! We started up again, then she flew off the upper end of the teeter before it had a chance to land! (Whoops, turns out that was my bad.) A couple of jumps later and Rain didn’t feed into the weave poles right, but I stopped and once she had done that, she closed it out with a great run through the tunnel.

Phew! One thing was for sure, I’m glad I decided to change into better clothes for running when I was home to pick her up. Sports bra FTW!

After we ran through the course once, Molly gave us some pointers for improvement. One: no jumping off the end of the teeter! As it turns out, dogs can have a hard time telling the teeter apart from the ramp up to the dog walk, so it’s up to the humans to say “teeter teeter teeter teeter teeter” until they’re through safely. Whoops.

We had a second run through the course which went marginally better. Then it was Rudy’s turn and Poppy’s turn.

Rudy comes off the end of the dog walk.

Poppy descends the dog walk.

Rain asks, isn’t it my turn again yet?
Why haven’t you given me food for five whole seconds?

In preparation for a second (shorter) course, Molly introduced us to the double jump and triple jump. These pieces are not brought out in the arena too often, so Molly was using the opportunity of their presence to learn some new equipment. When Rain took the double jump, it looked just like she was going over any other jump. When she sailed over the triple jump, she looked as graceful and beautiful as I’ve ever seen her! It was quite a sight.

The second course, then, consisted mostly of the pieces set up in the remaining third of the arena. We started by sending them into the same tunnel they ended with previously, over the A-frame, and then up to a pause table. (Rain has a habit of taking her sweet time to lie down fully on the pause table, and Molly had to wait to do a coundown of five before we could proceed. Then I forgot to wait for “and go” so we started again too soon.) Next over the double and triple jumps, and we were done!

And that was class. The dogs were getting warm and the menopausal women in our group were getting even hotter. We disbanded for another week, but not without seizing the chance to further enjoy a sunny afternoon in the countryside before heading back home.

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